Been thinking a lot lately about headlines. Well not just lately…I’m always thinking about headlines.
But the reason I bring it up and devoted this post to it is because I don’t think the headline gets enough respect. (Imagine me doing a Rodney Dangerfield impression as you re-read that).
It doesn’t really make sense to me though. I know how hard B2B companies work to build new, innovative products/upgrades, and how much thought and effort go into all of the marketing materials surrounding the launch. They create decks, one pagers, web content, graphics, the whole nine. But then when everything is ready to go live, they just slap a generic headline on the post and it fades into the LinkedIn abyss. Now all that effort was for nothing. And worse, a good product goes largely unnoticed.
So the question I asked myself is, why? Why neglect the headline when it’s the final cherry on top that will put your product in front of the right people? Yes, part of it is because good headlines are pretty damn hard to write and not all of us are Bill Shakespeare on the keyboard. But the other piece of it is that I think people are afraid of creating clickbait.
And I get it. I cringe just as much as the rest of you when some Buzzfeed-y headline pops up on my timeline. I’m not asking you to write some crap like, “The Marketing Masterclass That Will Make You a Millionaire.” (Though I do encourage alliteration).
That’s pure clickbait. Why? Because it’s nonsense. No class can make you millions of dollars. If it could, my attendance record for my college microeconomics class would have been much higher. The point is, that headline doesn’t provide any REAL value. It’s only goal is to get you to click — the subsequent content is irrelevant.
Now contrast that headline with something like this:
“The singular website play CustoMRR.io used to boost their homepage traffic by 87% in just 3 months”
That’s not clickbait. That’s a hook.
(Sidenote: I made that company up, but that’s kind of a sick startup name, right? Someone do something with that).
You’re promising realistic value that you can deliver on in the body of the article. You’re telling the real story of a company that had a specific, positive result with your product/service. Yes, it’s enticing you to click, but isn’t that the point of writing it? You want people to look at your headline and say “Wow, that’s crazy high traffic growth, I want to read their full story.”
If you ever find yourself struggling to put out a headline because you think it might be considered clickbait, remember this quote from the legendary marketer David Ogilvy:
“On average five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy”
It’s 2021. There’s a lot of content out there and our attention spans are at an all time low. If you don’t hook them with the headline, you’re not going to hook ‘em at all.
So don’t be afraid of coming across as clickbait if you genuinely are offering your buyer something of value. You’re a marketer. It’s literally your job to hype up the product — never be hesitant with your headlines.
Another one in the books. Let me know if you like this shorter format. I like doing these stream of conscious pieces. Hit me up on LI, Twitter, or any other social channel you can think of. I think I still have a MySpace login…
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